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How to layer your survival kits for a real-world disaster

Zombies, an alien invasion, or every other of your favourite apocalyptic eventualities are sometimes used to spur curiosity in survival planning as a result of every one forces you to consider being self-reliant. While it’s enjoyable to plan for unrealistic conditions, layered survival system truly prepares you for recognized and sure eventualities.

What would you do in case your automotive slid off of an icy highway at night time in an space with out cell service? How would you put together if your own home was in-built a wildfire space? Or, will you be prepared in the event you’re unfortunate sufficient to have your own home destroyed by a twister? 

If any of these questions apply to you and also you don’t have solutions, preserve studying as a result of we’ve bought you lined. In this text, we’ll present you how you can create a survival system for real-world disasters. We’ll cowl issues like layering survival kits, common security tips and greatest practices, and total preparedness.

Why it is best to belief us

During my 17 years as an Army infantryman, I’ve needed to survive in environments with excessive temperatures and extreme climate with restricted gear for prolonged durations of time. I’ve additionally graduated from Survive Evade Resist and Escape (SERE) college, and now I practice navy advisors. I’ve additionally utilized this coaching in my on a regular basis life for all the pieces from flat tires to energy outages to tornados. Through all of those experiences, I’ve developed a survival mentality during which I perceive the significance of a layered survival system. The following data was based mostly on coaching, expertise, rehearsals, and in depth analysis. 

A layered survival system

A layered survival system means making ready a survival package for the conditions you might be almost definitely to come across. You in all probability have some sort of layered survival system in place already. Most individuals have an on a regular basis carry (EDC), a highway package of their car, and a go-bag of their home. But an optimum layered survival system is greater than only a bunch of kits including as much as a bunch of stuff. It’s a manner of planning and considering to get essentially the most out of your system, so you find yourself with gear that you simply really need and redundancies you would truly use. In this text, we’ll cowl 5 primary sorts of survival kits, which is able to put together you for many real-world disasters. These embody:

  • Everyday carry
  • Vehicle loadout
  • Cache
  • Go bag
  • Weapons bundle

In the survival group, we’re guided by a saying: “We live out of our bag, fight out of our kit, and survive out of our pockets.” The level of the saying is to immediate you into desirous about your relationship — each actually and figuratively — together with your gear. 

In layman’s phrases, to “live out of your bag” signifies that it is best to pack an precise bag so that you and your loved ones can survive for an prolonged time frame. A great commonplace is to pack so that you’re protecting all of your wants for 72 hours. 

To “fight out of your kit” refers to safety. It’s a package designed solely to guard you and your loved ones from hurt. This package usually consists of a firearm, ammo, and armor, in addition to a trauma package or medical pouch. 

Finally, to “survive out of your pockets” means having the mandatory gear for survival in your particular person. This entails growing a correct on a regular basis carry, which is your first and possibly most vital survival package as a result of it might be all you’ve got in the event you can not entry your different kits. 

Everyday carry

Your on a regular basis carry, or EDC, refers back to the objects you carry each day. They’re completely different for everybody, and in the event you’re something like me, you would possibly add, take away, or improve objects each occasionally. A full EDC appears one thing like this: 

  • Money: Always carry some type of fee like a credit score or debit card and money. While money is king, you may get away with about $100 of native forex. That ought to cowl primary wants like transportation, data, meals, and so forth. 
  • Knife: A great folding knife or small mounted blade. Think of it as a device somewhat than a weapon. Survival ought to all the time be on the forethought of your decisions. 
  • Cordage: A chunk of paracord is monumental in making traps, lashing, or repairing issues. Five to 6 ft of wire is greater than sufficient. Braided keychains are very helpful. 
  • Flashlight: A light-weight supply all the time turns out to be useful whether or not it’s essential to sign for assist or simply have to see at the hours of darkness. A small penlight is greater than enough.  
  • Handgun: If you resolve to hold for self-defense, discover a pistol or revolver you’re comfy with utilizing and carrying, which suggests coaching and discovering the fitting holster. 
  • Reload: If you find yourself carrying a weapon, it is best to carry a reload as nicely, like a spare journal or moon clip.  
  • Lighter: Always carry a fire-making gadget. Stormproof matches, butane lighters, and so forth. If not, a small ferrocerium rod will throw a spark even within the wettest of circumstances.  
  • Jacket: Always take a warm- or wet-weather layer with you (even in the event you simply stash it within the automotive). Even within the desert, you’ll be able to turn into hypothermic. Your clothes is all the time your first layer of shelter. 
  • Snack: A protein bar, vitality bar, nuts, dried fruits, and so forth. This could possibly be a psychological achieve or provide the vitality to maintain going. At the very least, it may calm the children when you plan your subsequent transfer.
  • Water bottle: Water is life. The common particular person wants about two to a few liters a day to keep up good well being. I like to recommend a water bottle with a built-in water filter.  

If you make all the pieces on this record a part of your EDC, it is possible for you to to discover a sensible answer to virtually any small-scale drawback you encounter. Now, you would possibly suppose that it’s a whole lot of stuff to hold, and also you wouldn’t be incorrect. If you do resolve to hold all the pieces on this record, you would possibly wish to think about getting a sling bag or fanny pack. 

The creator’s EDC loadout. (Steven Harbert)

Vehicle loadout 

Your car loadout ought to put together you not only for a flat tire or lifeless battery, but additionally for what you would possibly encounter or, relying in your location, what you may not encounter (like a fuel station). You may need sufficient gear to get by in most cities or cities, however what in the event you’re in a rural space and also you: get two flat tires; run out of fuel; hit a deer; expertise {an electrical} hearth: or get caught on the aspect of the highway on a freezing night time? Will you be prepared for any of these conditions? If the reply is not any or possibly, the next lists will guarantee you’re ready. 

Recovery package

  • Jack with a locking bar
  • Full spare tire and wheel bundle
  • Breaker bar or battery-powered influence gun
  • Fix-a-flat and/or tire-plug package
  • Portable energy station with air compressor and jumper cables
  • Wheel chock
  • Work gloves
  • Warning triangles
  • Flares

Spare gas bundle

  • 2.5- or five-gallon gas can
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Vehicle-specific gas inlet funnel (if relevant)
  • Shop towels

First assist package

  • Burn gel or bandages
  • Chest seal
  • NPA (Nasopharyngeal tube)
  • Tourniquet
  • Gauze
  • Iodine tincture
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Assorted band-aids
  • Israeli bandage
  • Medical shears or seatbelt cutter
  • Applicable drugs
  • Medical tape
  • Splint


  • Snacks or emergency rations
  • One gallon of water


  • Extra set of clothes
  • Cold-weather jacket
  • Camp hammock or tent
  • Tarp


  • Road atlas
  • Traction mats
  • Shovel
  • Toilet paper and child wipes
  • 3.5 kilos of baking soda (for gas spills, battery explosions, and brushing your tooth)

NOTE: Before you go loading your car with all the pieces on this record, it is best to know that a number of the objects (like gasoline) could be extraordinarily harmful to retailer inside your car. They could be much more harmful in the event you’re in an accident. Therefore, it is best to take correct precautions and adjust to state and native ordinances concerning such points.  

An emergency cushion

Preparing a cache of emergency provides is simply good observe. It doesn’t matter in the event you stick it in a gap in your yard, inside an outdated storage unit, or in a security deposit field on the financial institution — an emergency cushion will assist in the event you’re in a jam. You may be questioning what sort of jam am I in? In popular culture, such issues are used when a personality decides to go on the lam. Instead, consider a small disaster like a home hearth or twister. Those types of issues can take some time to kind out, so for an emergency cushion, you’ll need:  

  • Money: $500 to $1,000 as a common rule. Certainly, sufficient to get you right into a lodge and feed the household till you’ll be able to work out the following step.
    • You additionally would possibly wish to retailer objects of worth for bartering
  • Copies of keys, if relevant, for storage models, buddy/household house, transportation, and so forth. 
  • Personal paperwork like insurance coverage data, licenses, medical data, and so forth.
  • Communication instruments like a pay as you go cellphone, or a satellite tv for pc telephone with a plan, which is helpful if in an space the place fires or climate can injury cell towers. 
How to layer your survival kits for a real-world disaster
Components of an F-35A Lightning II arctic survival package lie on a desk at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, April 24, 2019. An ordinary survival package features a compass, a flare and a five-inch knife. The cold-weather package additionally consists of parts meant to extend survival possibilities in environments the place temperatures attain destructive 40 levels Fahrenheit and under. (U.S. Air Force picture by Airman 1st Class Aaron Larue Guerrisky)

Go bag

Although there’s a whole lot of overlap, a go bag is similar to a bug out bag. One is supposed for a short lived evacuation of your residence whereas the opposite is supposed for an extended journey. While the distinction between the 2 may be semantics, it’s vital to grasp the variations earlier than you pack it. 

For this text, we’re specializing in go baggage. It’s one thing you stow by your entrance door or inside your automotive and fill with necessities meant to get you to a short lived shelter or again house. The packing record may be just like a day hike. They embody: 


  • Poncho
  • Poncho liner
  • 25-foot cordage


  • Ferro rod
  • Stormproof matches
  • Lighter
  • Cotton balls soaked in Vaseline


  • Bottle filtration system
  • Iodine tablets
  • Water bottle


  • Emergency meals rations
  • 10-foot snare wire
  • 50-foot fishing line 16 kilos check
  • Small to medium fishing hooks


  • Burn gel or bandages
  • Suter package
  • Tourniquet
  • Israeli bandage
  • Medical tape
  • Band-aids
  • Quick-clot gauze
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Personal hygiene objects



  • Folding noticed
  • Settlers device
  • Multitool
  • Fixed-blade knife
  • Canteen cup
  • Headlamp
  • Hatchet


  • Electrical tape
  • Zip ties
  • Sewing package
  • Batteries

By now, you’ve got in all probability seen some overlap between the go-bag and car loadout. It’s true, there are some, however the motive for the redundancies is that if one system fails for no matter motive — misplaced go-bag or lacking automotive — you’ve got the backup. It’s one other layer in your layered survival package.

Weapons bundle

A weapons bundle needs to be designed to organize you for the worst-case state of affairs. Think a couple of pure disaster that disables essential infrastructure and outpaces authorities sources. A great instance is Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many all around the Gulf Coast have been left stranded with out electrical energy, operating water, or safety by native authorities. And since then, a number of states have loosened carry legal guidelines throughout a state of emergency. With that being mentioned, a weapons bundle on this setting is meant for defense and protection (somewhat than offense). A weapons bundle sometimes consists of three weapon techniques: an emergency EDC, a backup, and a most important gun. 

Emergency EDC

  • Sub-compact to full-sized handgun (tailor-made to apparel)
  • IWB holster
  • Extra magazine/speedloader/shells


  • Compact to full-size handgun
  • Gun belt with holsters and a survival knife
  • 2x journal pouch or extra, plus ammo for the principle gun
  • Small medical pouch (constructed for hemorrhage/gunshot wounds)

Main gun (trunk gun) 

  • Long gun
  • Fighting load provider or plate provider
  • Extra magazines or shells (not more than 3x magazines/35 shot shells)

Additionally, everytime you’re dealing with weapons, it is best to observe correct gun security and adjust to all native, state, and federal legal guidelines. 

How to layer your survival kits for a real-world disaster
Survival gear. (AlexKosev/DepositPhotos)

Pro tips for layering a survival system

Train, practice, practice

What are we going to do? Train. No matter what we have now with us, irrespective of how superior or costly the tools is, it means nothing in the event you don’t know how you can use it. Rehearsals are key to conducting any train or performing any process with evolving ability. Granted, lots of you aren’t troopers, regardless, coaching and understanding, coupled with information and ability, will assist you to survive even essentially the most treacherous conditions.

Learn the fundamentals

Like I mentioned above, instruments are ineffective in the event you don’t know how you can use them, so it is best to be taught the fundamentals on any device that you simply plan to make use of. That means how you can use it and why it is best to use it. 


The backdrop for a layered survival system is security. It’s making ready to klife-threatening household secure throughout doubtlessly life threatening conditions. You ought to put together a layered survival system to make sure that if a nasty factor occurs, you should have belongings to fall again on. Always have a plan to hunker down, bug out, search shelter, or evacuate from the realm. 

FAQs about layering a survival system

More questions? Here’s Task & Purpose’s further transient. 

Q. What is one of the best ways to outlive any survival disaster?

A. Develop a plan, focus on the plan with your loved ones, and rehearse the plan so that everybody is aware of what to do.

Q. What are the seven survival objects?

A. Food, water, first assist, heat/shelter, hygiene, communication, navigation, and different miscellaneous gear.

Q. What is the rule of three in survival?

A. You can survive three weeks with out meals, three days with out water, three hours in harsh climate, three minutes with out air or in icy water, and three seconds with out hope.

Q. Why is layering survival gear vital?

A. If one breaks or is misplaced, then you’ve got a system in place to acquire or exchange the misplaced merchandise — thus, furthering your possibilities of survival.

Q. What survival gear is important?

A. Any gear that can defend you from the weather, or provide help to get meals or water. Refer to the seven survival objects. 

Q. How a lot do layering your survival kits value?

A. Depending on the complexity and selection of things, you would simply spend just a few thousand {dollars}. 

Recommended gear

Recommended EDC gear

Olight I3T flashlight

Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight folding knife

Holtzman’s Gorilla Survival 5-in-1 paracord keychain

Pyro Putty Elite Rechargeable Dual Arc Lighter

Recommended cache gear

Rothco GI .30 & .50 Caliber ammo cans

Ziploc 1-gallon baggage

Recommended go bag gear

Helikon-Tex Swagman Roll Poncho

GRAYL GeoPress 24 oz water bottle

TOPS Brakimo bushcraft knife

Hults Bruk Almike all-purpose hatchet

Fenix HM61R headlamp

TOAKS Titanium 750ml pot with bail deal with

Recommended car loadout gear

Amerex hearth extinguisher

Justrite 5-Gallon AccuFlow Galvanized Steel gas can

DEWALT 20V Max XR influence Wrench

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